Concepts and Prototypes : Early LC10

LC10 was a conventional family hatchback in every sense of the word, and followed industry standard thinking in terms of mechanical layout.

However, because of internal politics, lack of resources and the fact that the Metro had to come first, the Maestro seven years to get into production.


LC10 prototype

THIS hand-built prototype was an early mule for the LC10 project. A-Series powered and demonstrating obvious space efficiency, it was true to the form. Styled by Steve Ferrada, this prototype bore no resemblance to the final product – although there were rumours that Bertone was involved…

This version of LC10 appears to have Spen King's fingerprints all over it. Even before the Ian Beech styling had been implemented, you can see some of the final product in this, especially around the front.
This version of LC10 appears to have Spen King's fingerprints all over it. Even before the Ian Beech styling had been implemented, you can see some of the final product in this, especially around the front.
Rear end is very minimalist indeed.
Rear end is very minimalist indeed.
Offset pedals and a minimalist dash could have you believing this was an Issigonis design. Look closely and you can see quite a bit from the BL parts bin, but one can't help but notice that there is a Maestro "vibe" here... look at the positioning and angle of the stereo slot - it is almost identical to that used in the 1983 production car.
Offset pedals and a minimalist dash could have you believing this was an Issigonis design. Look closely and you can see quite a bit from the BL parts bin, but one can't help but notice that there is a Maestro "vibe" here... look at the positioning and angle of the stereo slot - it is almost identical to that used in the 1983 production car.
There is acres of room in this prototype - almost as much in the SD1. The thin seats were obviously development only, but they did create interior space unmatched in a car of its size, even today.
There is acres of room in this prototype - almost as much in the SD1. The thin seats were obviously development only, but they did create interior space unmatched in a car of its size, even today.
Keith Adams

13 Comments

  1. Looks like someone’s tried to hotwire it…

    I didn’t think anything could be uglier than the production Maestro, but they certainly pulled out the stops to produce this hideous minger- it would defy the greatest stylists to pretty this up for production.

    Still, build quality looks good by BL standards- I like the almost straight ‘go faster’ stripes holding the front indicator on!

  2. I’m not so sure. With a bit of ornamentation and without the funny window line this would have been far more in line with early 80s European styling themes than the actual Maestro.

  3. I prefer the styling with the exception of the hideous surrounds to the door handles.

    A hint of Innocenti Mini about the headlights.

  4. Quite like the look of the hand-built prototype from the front and rear, the latter in particularly the tail-lights could have benefited productionized versions of the Pininfarina Aerodynamica Mini, 1100 and 1800 as well as the Maxi-based Aquila.

  5. As I previously said on the Maestro styling page was that I think this would have been a better bet with a raised window line, recessed handles and a better resolved rear end than the end product. It looks more modern, and it’s side profile fits in with the Metros lines.

  6. The first photo looks like an effort from one of the Eastern Bloc companies (Yugo/FSO/Lada etc) in the 1980s.

  7. Looking at the 1978 LC10 prototype further, it is difficult to believe Pininfarina wasn’t somehow involved or had some influenced on the Solihull design office that made this early engineering development car.

    Especially based on the apparent similarity with the more angular 305/505-influenced Peugeot M24 proposal by Pininfarina that appeared around the same time in 1977-1978 as the LC10 prototype.

  8. Or Bertone as the article links in. It’s strange how they built a working prototype with a unique body at a time when the company was on the floor. Where did the cash come from or was this an early design that was rejected by senior management and they went back to the drawing board?

    • If Bertone were involved I can see why they’d keep quiet about it.Looking at the pictures I see suggestions of Fiat Strada and Lancia Delta.And yes I know Bertone weren’t responsible for either of those.I think BL had a lucky escape, or maybe an attack of good judgement when this monstrosity was canned.

    • Despite being rumours am not completely ruling out Bertone, only that the visual resemblance to Pininfarina’s M24 proposal is rather uncanny together with Pininfarina’s own proposals for ADO88 and SD2 being known so far.

  9. I saw a picture of this elsewhere & thought at first it had some 1970 Fiat influences, almost like the Strada would have looked like if they gave it plainer looks.

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